United States – It has probably been a while since you last watched a film on VHS, right? The medium has been dubbed ‘obsolete’, but still there are 2.26 billion VHS tapes gathering dust in basements, closets and attics all across the Canadian state of Ontario. A new project called Get Reel aims to recycle this substantial yet overlooked waste stream.
‘VHS tapes are 80% recyclable but most end up in landfills because at the moment there is no recycling plan,’ explains Philip Yan, co-founder of the recycling project. Besides plastics, VHS tapes include steel, stainless steel and aluminium. Although fairly easy to dismantle, the process involves significant manual labour.
‘Research shows that there is no way to automate the dismantling process and the work needs to be done by hand,’ the initiative’s organisers point out. Yan and fellow project members have opted to hire people with barriers to employment – such as single parents or new immigrants – to carry out the dismantling of unwanted videos acquired from retail locations.
Yan is currently trying to raise US$ 25 000 via a crowdfunding campaign to propel the project to the next level.